Sunday, November 26, 2017

Poem of the Week: Christ the King

Advent Lyrics (Christ I)

(Translated from Anglo-Saxon)

Hail Almighty Christ,
peaceable and true King of All Kings!

Before every majesty
of the entire world
you were conceived
becoming a child
with your Glory-Father
by his craft and his might!

There is now no nobleman
under the windy sky,
no perspicacious man,

surpassingly wise
that he can speak of this
to sea-dwelling men,

or righteously relate
how the Holder of Heaven
in the beginning

hatched you
as his free-born son.

Of the many things
that the kindred of men
have frained among the folk,
what first happened
under the heavens
at the start of the world,

was that Wise God,
the Starting-Point of Life,
divided divinely
light and shadow,
and the power of judgment was his,

and the Lord of Hosts
ordained this subtle thing:
“Let there become
light from now, evermore
until the end of the world,

a sparkling joy
to all that live
which will be born
in their generation.”
And it happened at once,
when it should be so—

illuminated rays
the tribes of men,
brilliant among the stars,
after the arrival
of the proper time.
He established himself

that you were his Son
dwelling at the same instant
with your Solitary Lord
before any of this
even happened.

You are the wisdom
which created everything
of this spacious creation,
along with the Sovereign.

Therefore there is no one
so quick-witted,
nor so mind-crafty
that can clearly affirm
your inception
to the children of men.

Come now,
Warden of Victories,
Measurer of Mankind,
fixed in grace
reveal to us here
your mercy!

There is in all of us
a great desire to be allowed
to understand
your mother’s kindred,
the righteous mystery,
since we cannot at all
explain any farther
your father’s descent.

Make joyous this middle-earth
mildly through your
coming here, Savior Christ—
command those golden gates
to be opened wide,

which have in days of old,
for a very long time,
stood closed fast,
Highest Lord of Heaven—
and seek us out
through your own arrival
humbly to the earth.

There is need of your mercies!
The cursed wolf,
the beast of death’s shadow,
has brought your flock,
O Lord, to naught,
scattering them widely.

The sheep, my Sovereign,
you bought before
with your blood
which the baleful foe
woefully afflicts,
and takes them captive
for himself,
over the urging
of our desires.

Therefore we, Savior,
entreat you earnestly
with our breasts’ thoughts
that you quickly render us
assistance, weary wretches,

so that the tormenting slayer
may tumble into abjection
to the depths of hell,
and the work of your hands,
Shaper of Heroes,
may arise and arrive

at the right,
into that upward
and noble kingdom,
whence the dark ghast
drew us apart and seduced us
through our sinful lust,

so that we, lacking glory,
must suffer misery
forever without end,
unless you,

Eternal Lord, the Living God,
Helmet of All Creatures,
wish to defend us
more readily,
from the destroyer of peoples. (214-74)

HT: Dr. Aaron K. Hostetter

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